Matt Blank travels the world base jumping and exploring what makes this human experience unique for everyone.
Matt Blank grew up in Southern California skateboarding by day and racing BMX by night. Most mornings he spent at the beach surfing or bodyboarding before school, always with an eye on the weather in case he needed to skip out early to hit the coast.
After high school he worked own way through the University of California Irvine as a rock climbing instructor and while he was finishing his degree in psychology and social behavior with a minor in film he worked technical rope and cave search and rescue for the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department.
After college his attentions shifted to snowboarding, skydiving and B.A.S.E jumping. He instructed freestyle and all mountain snowboarding for Vail Corp. and still instruct skydiving from time to time at Perris Valley Skydiving Center. In the more recent years he jumped from one extreme community to the next pursuing his ultimate goal of collaborating with other like minded extreme athletes to create projects that can only be characterized as “mind grenades” . But what is past is prologue and therefore he’s always ready for the next adventure.
Starring: Matt Blank, Chris Carnahan, Cam Tracey, Lawrence Jones, Maria Steinmayr, Brian Mosbaugh.
Kuala Lumpur – Malaysia,
Tonsai – Thailand,
Moab – Utah.
Bridge Day 2016
Bridge Day is an annual one-day festival in Fayetteville, Fayette County, West Virginia, United States. The event is coordinated by the New River Gorge Bridge Day Commission, and is sponsored by numerous companies of both local and international significance. The event, held on the third Saturday every October, commemorates the 1977 completion of the New River Gorge Bridge. On this day, all four lanes of the bridge are closed to automobiles and opened to pedestrians. Estimates have 100,000 people attending the overall event.
The first Bridge Day was held in 1980 and drew a crowd of roughly 40,000. It has been held every year since except for 2001. It was canceled that year due to the recent events of 9/11 and the possibility of terrorist attacks.
Base jumping on Bridge Day
Bridge Day is the only day of the year people are allowed to BASE jump off the bridge into the New River Gorge 267 meters below, one of the few exceptions to a general ban on BASE jumping within the U.S. National Park System. People are also allowed to rappel from the span on Bridge Day. About four hundred BASE jumpers participate in each year’s festival. In 2015 the BASE jumping community boycotted the event.
There have been three deaths during Bridge Day due to accidents involving BASE jumpers:
In 1983, Michael Glenn Williams from Birmingham, Alabama, drowned when his gear was caught in the current after he made a successful jump. The one rescue boat that was in the river at the time was busy with other jumpers, and could not make it to him. In later years, more than one rescue boat was always used, and parachutists were not allowed to jump until it was confirmed that one of the rescue boats was available.
In 1987, Steven Gyrsting of Paoli, Pennsylvania, jumped using gear that was not BASE-specific gear and was killed after he was unable to open his reserve chute in time when his main chute failed to deploy.
During the 2006 festival, Brian Lee Schubert died when he failed to deploy his parachute in time. In 1966, he had been one of the first to BASE jump from El Capitan in Yosemite National Park.
Chris Douggs McDougall
What Does B.A.S.E Stand for? Check out the video to find out the answer!
Base jumping from buildings: Benidorm in Spain and Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, antennas in Switzerland and USA, spans in Croatia and Twin Falls in USA and mountains – Riglos in Spain and Monte Brento in Italy.
Chris Douggs McDougall about himself:
“My life has been devoted to BASE jumping and skydiving for over 16 years now – 16 years that have brought me endless joy and adventure and taught me what living life to the fullest really means. BASE jumping proves that nothing is impossible if you chase your dreams with passion and determination.
My chosen adventure sports have taken me to all corners of the globe, exploring some of nature’s true wonders in the company of the world’s most unique, inspirational people. I created BASEdreams to share my experiences of these incredible sports, in the hope that they may inspire even just one person to break free from the constraints of society and achieve what their hearts most desire – whatever that may be.
While only a handful of us will experience BASE jumping, we’re all plunging through the freefall of life. And we have to make the most of it.”
SoCal Winter B.A.S.E. Jumping & Other Aerial Shenanigans
A compilation of the fun times I’ve had while BASE jumping in Southern California. Using my local cliff as a training ground, I’ve met a ton of great people and had some awesome experiences in my first Californian Winter as a jumper.
The cliff used in this feature has 3 exit points that I’ve used ranging from a mere 160 feet to around 220 feet. All offering marginal time for correcting errors, off-headings, and occasionally less than forgiving landing areas. Jumps like this should be done with extreme caution and a respect for one’s own comfort level an experience.
All of these jumps were done using a static line method of jumping where a jumper will tie-off his pilot chute and attached bridal to a point on the object being jumped. When the jumper exits the object his or her force and the rigged pilot chute act as a deployment method for extra low jumping. Once the jumper reaches line stretch the main parachute begins to inflate and the pilot chute will detach from the object by breaking two loops of 80 pound break cord and freeing the jumper from the object completely. At this point it is up to the jumper to manage the opening and control any canopy surge while flying towards their intended landing area, if possible.
Other highlights of this season included a few hot air balloon jumps using a tracking suit made by Phoenix-Fly. On these jumps I was honing in on my terminal exits and openings, while also trying to improve flight times and gradually lower my opening altitude to something reasonable for wearing a BASE rig. Although these specialized setups allow you to open lower it is also important to be able to have enough altitude to deal with any potential malfunctions that could happen and still safely make it to a suitable landing area.
Another site appears in a small coastal area of Mexico where an abandoned construction site lays way for a very sketchy jump over a beautiful coastline of polished rock beach and green-blue waters. On this outing I actually decided not to jump after climbing the entire way up. For me the winds were too high and it was not worth the risk for me. I did get some great footage of the guys though.
It’s been a fun winter in California!
Liquid Image Co.
Six Feet Deep Clothing
Music by Atmosphere